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Journal Vol. III (LXV) - No. 1/2013

Changing learning environments at university - Comparing the learning strategies of non-traditional European students engaged in lifelong learning

Romina Müller, Steffen Beiten
Leuphana University Lüneburg, Wilschenbrucher Weg 84, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
With the importance of lifelong learning rising in our knowledge-based society, educators in higher
education must meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. An important question
within this context is how these students learn. Little research is yet to be found on the learning
strategies of these groups of lifelong learners. This article fills this gap, providing research on the
learning strategies of lifelong learners at three European universities. The analysis shows that distance
learners and employed learners learn less through repetition and cooperation, compared to other groups
of lifelong learners. Furthermore, these students revealed that they use active rather than reactive
coping strategies. These results were confirmed for lifelong learners in all participating countries and
only minor differences between countries were found.
Keywords: lifelong learning; learning styles; learning strategies; coping strategies; academic continuing

Present day academic staff and their values. Case study: PGU Ploiesti

Gabriel Albu
Petroleum Gas University, Blvd. Bucuresti, nr. 39, Ploiesti, 100600, Romania
In their work, academics perform multiple roles. Unfortunately, official documents and literature insists
on only two of them (giving the impression that they would be the only ones): knowledge provider and
researcher in a particular field of knowledge. It overlooks a third role, namely that of transmitter of
values, beliefs and principles of life, a role that influences, in a greater or lesser measure, the options,
conceptions of self and life, aspirations, motivations and expectations of future intellectuals. This study
brings to the fore this dimension of a lecturer’s activity and reveals the axiological universe of an
experimental sample composed of professors from PGU Ploiesti, with less than 15 years in higher
education, both in the fields of engineering and socio-humanities.
Keywords: values, beliefs, life principles, academic staff, students

Conceptions and opinions regarding the self-management of the curriculum of professional development for the didactic career

Claudiu Marian Bunaiasu
University of Craiova, 13, A.I. Cuza, Craiova 200585, Romania
The fundamental premise of elaborating empiric research paperwork consists in believing that teachers’
active, rational and pragmatic involvement in their own processes of professional development generates
visible progresses of professional performance, due to the cumulative development of desirable
competences for the didactic career. Developing competences in order to elaborate and manage projects
and programs of professional development represents a complex process, which starts by crystallizing
curricular and managerial opinions and conceptions in this field. Our article is based on a brief
presentation of the theoretic and methodological framework belonging to the self-management of the
curriculum of continual training, of the methodology that has been used (questionnaire and focusgroups)
and of the empirical research’s results, which testify subjects’ perceptions and opinions (didactic
staff, school managers, experts in teachers’ training) in the field and their adhesion to the invoked
methodologies and tools.
Keywords: curriculum of continual training for the didactic career; self-management of the curriculum
of professional development;project of professional development; meta-cognitive strategies.

Design for quality in higher education. A possible approach at study program level

Alina Crisan, Roxana Enache
Technichal University of Cluj-Napoca, 15 Daicoviciu st.,400020 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
National University of Arts, 19 General Budisteanu st., 010774, Bucuresti, Romania
The present paper proposes a curricular design model developed on three complexity level: macro, intermediate and micro (study program, course and concrete teaching-learning activity). The algorithm is conceived in an interdisciplinary manner, combining knowledge and competences from different domains: the educational sciences one, the project management one and the quality management one – materialized in a creative use of the specific instruments, techniques and advanced methods. The proposed model intends to be a general one, applicable in the curricular design at master program study level, without scientific domain constraints.
Keywords: quality; curricular design; higher education customer 

The Obstacles of Evaluation in Mainstream Schools

Alina Margaritoiu
Petroleum-Gas University, Bd. Bucuresti, 39, Ploiesti, 100680, Romania
The success of the inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools depends,
especially, on the competences of the teachers to teach, to manage the classroom, to collaborate with
family and specialists, to evaluate the learning progress of children with SEN etc. Although some
improvements were made at the level of integrated education in Romania, we can observe the
persistence of some dysfunctions in mainstream schools. Given these circumstances, our paper aims to
present an investigation with reference to teachers’ obstacles in the evaluation of children with SEN,
the methods of evaluation and the types of errors in evaluation that could represent a kind of support in
designing initial and continuous training programs dedicated to teachers.
Keywords: evaluation; obstacles; special education needs

Teaching psychology through English: Incidental improvement in academic reading comprehension

Graham Pluck
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Cumbayá, Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica, Ecuador
Teaching academic material through English as a foreign language presents additional challenges for
the students, but also additional benefits. I report on a module of medical psychology taught in English
to Ecuadorian university students whose first language is Spanish. Comparisons of pre and post module
reading comprehension scores showed that there was large and statistically significant improvement in
reading comprehension. However, ratings of confidence in comprehension remained unchanged. The
improvement in scores represents an example of incidental learning, as the module was focused
entirely on content and did not include any teaching of English as a foreign language. I conclude that
teaching with only academic journal articles is possible. In addition, incidental improvements in
reading comprehension may present additional benefits of this approach.
Keywords: English teaching; psychology teaching; incidental learning; Spanish; comprehension

The role of certain types of exercises in remedial teaching. A case study

Mihaela Badea, Cristina Gafu, Cristina Iridon
Petroleum – Gas University Bd. Bucuresti 39, Ploiesti, 100680, Romania
As teachers of Romanian for foreigners in the Petroleum – Gas University of Ploiesti, we noticed that
certain types of exercises used as part of the remedial teaching stage are a very useful tool in improving
students’ acquisition of Romanian.
The purpose of the paper is to show the results of a study consisting in analyzing errors made by
Turkmenistan students after the remedial teaching stage and the usefulness and effectiveness of certain
types of exercises in the teaching process in order to reduce the number of errors made by the students
when learning Romanian as a second language. In terms of usefulness, remedial teaching proved to be
a successful tool, as it helped students improve their language skills, the data collected showing that the
errors made by students were significantly reduced.
We recommend applying remedial teaching progressively, during the whole teaching process, being
easier for both students and teachers to correct errors as they gradually occur.
Keywords: remedial teaching; types of exercises; error analysis; teaching Romanian

Pre-service teachers’ beliefs about evaluation

Qiaoyan He, Martin Valcke, Antonia Aelterman, Chang Zhu
School of Educational Science, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, 610101, China
Department of Educational Studies, Ghent University, Gent, 9000, Belgium
Fifty-six Chinese pre-service teachers from three four-year teacher normal universities were
interviewed about their evaluation beliefs through two perspectives: student-centred (PSSC) and
teacher-centred (PSTC). The analysis yielded five areas of evaluation belief structure (who, when,
how, why to evaluate students and what to be evaluation beliefs) with various subcomponents: content,
reasoning, applications and procedures. Yet, all fifty-six pre-service teachers prone to compromise their
beliefs in the future teaching practice. Implications for reformers, educators and pre-service/in-service
teachers include the need to provide a firmer grounding in teacher training, to explore the reliability of
evaluation belief systems, and to develop feasible instrument based the analysis of interview data to
confirm pre-service teachers’ evaluation beliefs on a big scale. All of these endeavours are paid for the
new educational policies carried on smoothly and descending the confliction among different beliefs
from reformers, researchers and pre/in-service teachers.
Keywords: teacher-centered; student-centered; teacher evaluation beliefs

Factors Associated with Teachers’ Motivation and Commitment to Teach in Tanzania

Kitila A.K. Mkumbo
Dar es Salaam University College of Education, P O Box 2329 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
This study examined the level of teachers’ motivation and commitment to the teaching profession in
Tanzania. The results show that the majority of teachers were motivated to join and stay in the teaching
profession due to intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, factors such as intellectual curiosity and feelings of
belongingness to learning community. The results also show that the majority of teachers have very
low level of commitment to the teaching profession. For example, just about a third of the teachers
surveyed reported that they would choose teaching profession if they were to consider choosing it
again. The level of commitment to the teaching profession is associated with the school ownership
category, whether a school is privately or publicly owned, and the level teaching qualification.
Keywords: teachers’ commitment; teachers’ motivation; teaching profession;Tanzania

Towards School 2.0: Facilitated Maieutic Dialogue

Alfredo Panerai
Sciences of Education Department, University of Firenze, Italy
The aim of the article is to stress the urgent need for change in schools’ educational-didactic approach, whose core component appears not to have altered in the last few centuries and to be the same in all countries. This core is the “principle of authority” expressed in a highly asymmetrical educational relationship, founded on the monopolisation of communication by the teacher and on a teaching system operating through a one-to-many channel, which leaves students very little freedom and opportunity for participation. Through the internet, today’s youngsters are looking for constant contact with their peers, self-expression, and opportunities to create and share knowledge. So the ability to manage this type of process is important for today’s teachers, irrespective of the presence or otherwise of an IT tool: in other words, teachers need to acquire the skills and practical techniques to manage learning groups in a participatory environment, to become experts in coordinating a Facilitated Maieutic Dialogue.
Keywords: school and conservation; internet 2.0; participatory teaching; knowledge building; maieutic dialogue

School and the implications of globalisation

Emil Stan
Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Bd. Bucuresti, 39, Ploiesti, 100680, Romania
The phenomenon of globalisation has gone way beyond the boundaries of the economic, political and social scopes; although the cultural globalisation is frequently talked about, paradoxically, the implications on school are ignored. The current study makes use of the theoretical tool developed by George Ritzer in two well-known works (The Globalization of Nothing and The Mcdonaldization of Society) in order to analyse the transformations that school is going through nowadays under the pressure of globalisation. The findings of the analysis are merely ascertaining and they lack ideological connotations, although they highlight the authors’ opinions about school, education and their role in the life of the individual and of the community.
Keywords: education; globalisation; standardisation; levelling; formatting; labour work; individual; school.

School religious education in countries with majority orthodox population. A comparative analytical approach

Constantin Cucos
Al. I. Cuza University, Iasi, Romania
This study focuses on highlighting similarities and differences regarding religious education in countries with an Orthodox majority population in Europe. Our aim is to investigate several levels of achieving this dimension of the education: the legal and normative framework, the relation between religious education in school and outside of school, the adjacent curriculum, the strategic and didactic framework for conducting activities, deficiencies and/or development directions of action.
Keywords: religious education; confessional education; Christian spirituality; comparative approach

Role of Social Capital in Agricultural Students’ Academic Achievement: a case from Iran

N. Shiri, H. Gholami, R. Arabi, A. A. Mirakzadeh
Department of Extension and Rural Development, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran
Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran


The main purpose of this study was investigating of role of social capital in agricultural students’ academic achievement. The population of this study consisted of all fourth year agricultural students of Razi University (N=257), from which 154 student were selected as the sample using the proportionate stratified sampling method. The main instrument in this study was questionnaire which its validity was confirmed by the panel of experts and its reliability was established by Cronbach's Alpha coefficient alpha>0.70). Data was analyzed by SPSSWin20 and LISREL8.54 software in two parts of descriptive and inferential statistics. Results of Correlation analysis showed that social capital was significantly correlated with academic achievement (P<0.01). Also, results of path analysis indicated that social capital had a positive and significant effect on students’ academic achievement (gamma= 0.83, t=11.44, R2=0.69). Finding of this study can have practical implications concerning agricultural students’academic achievement for higher agricultural education mangers, planners and educators.

Keywords: social capital; academic achievement; agricultural students; Razi University



Mentalizing in autism: Interpreting facial expressions, following gaze, reading body language and inferring traits

Peter Mitchell
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Malaysia
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder occurring at about the rate of one per hundred of the population. Past research has been interpreted to suggest that people with autism have profound deficits in understanding people’s minds. The research summarized in this article suggests, however, that high functioning adults with autism differ in but a subtle way from comparison participants in the cognitive underpinnings of their social functioning. In particular, it seems participants with autism are fairly effective in interpreting psychological information from another person’s eyes, are effective in following gaze and to some degree they are successful in guessing what happened to a person from their body language. In all of these skills, people with autism are not quite as skillful as people without autism. Speculations are offered on how developmental factors might contribute to lack of opportunity to refine cognitive skills associated with interpersonal activities in people with autism.
Keywords: autism; mentalizing; developmental disorder; social functioning

Psychological interfaces. The modular mind vs. the integrative mind

Cristian Vasile
Petroleum-Gas University. Bd. Bucuresti 39, Ploiesti, Romania
The paper starts from the assumption that the psychological (internal) interfaces are of a major importance in understanding the human psyche. Typically, the design of cognitive models has not emphasized the role of interfaces in order to describe the models’ behavior. We are accustomed to speak about the cognitive functions in terms of processes: perception, memory, learning, thinking, language and so on. Usually the functioning of these processes is understood as a multi-modular interaction, where each module, or each function, works in some parameters and any system disturbance is treated as a poor functioning of one or more modules / processes. Yet we barely focused on the interaction areas of these processes, or on the interfaces between cognitive processes and between cognitive and affective functions. The paper analyzes these concepts in terms of the integrative mind.
Keywords: interfaces; cognition; integrative mind

Validation of the cognitive behavioural intervention protocol for personal optimisation in case of non-clinical subjects having cognitive vulnerability for anxiety comorbid with depression

Aurelia Draghici
Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
In this study the main goal is the personal optimisation of some young subjects identified after a screening as having cognitive vulnerability for comorbid anxiety with depression. The dysfuncional and/or irrational cognitions cand be identified and changed by cognitive-behavioural techniques and I intend to validate a protocol for the mentioned aspects. Starting with this basic assumption I intend to conceptualise from a psychopathologic point of view the depression and anxiety, as the biggest part of psycopathology is the result of dysfuncional and/or irrational cognitions. The general conceptualisation in the I had 205 subjects which filled out fully the psychological tests battery for screening, then I chose some of them based on their scores which indicated cognitive vulnerability nor confirmed by a clinical board or by disorders from Axis II DSM IV. For the so chosen subjects based on the citeria of being included in the study we applied a protocol elaborated for the necessity of the study, using postintervention measurements showing that these acquired efficient coping strategies for the dysfunctional cognitions which placed them in a cognitive vulnerability zone.
Keywords: cognitive vulnerability; stress – vulnerability model

Revisiting social class: exploring stereotype threat effect on intellectual performance of school students

Chetan Sinha, Arvind Kumar Mishra
Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The present study reexamined social class identity and stereotype threat effect in Indian context. The study scans the impact of social class based stereotype threat on intellectual performance of school children. Earlier research explored the social class context (e.g. Croizet & Claire, 1998) of France where it was found that low SES children performed low when their social class identity was made salient as compared with non salient group. Study differed from the findings observed in the dominant research and came out with the observation that students of both high and low social classes felt uncomfortable in the evaluating situation when ability diagnostic task was introduced. However, low SES (LSES) students were more accurate than there high SES (HSES) counterpart in the nondiagnostic situation. This showed that school context or the tasks associated with school offer a threatening experience for students despite the differences in their social class as performance of students of both categories increased in the non-diagnostic situation.
Keywords: socioeconomic status; social class; stereotype threat effect; intellectual performance

Factors Influencing School Performance in Romania

Nicoleta Corbu, Loredana Ivan, Valeriu Frunzaru, Remus Pricopie
College of Comunication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, 6 Povernei, Bucharest 010643, Romania
This article analyses the results of a survey on students from Romanian universities concerning the factors that influence academic performance. Academic literature in the field underlines two clusters of key factors determining school performance: individual and social predictors. In this context, we conducted a national representative survey (N=1402) on freshmen from Romanian public universities. Findings show that gender, parents’ education, materialistic values and class attendance have a
significant impact on students’ academic performance. The results could be used for further development of educational policies for access and equity in higher education.
Keywords: education; academic performance; social predictors, materialistic values

Teaching for Successful Intelligence Questionnaire (TSI-Q) – a new instrument developed for assessing teaching style

Ramona Palos, Laurentiu P. Maricutoiu
West University of Timisoara, V. Parvan Street no 4, 300223, Romania
The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a questionnaire for assessing teaching styles described in the theory of teaching for successful intelligence. The new instrument allows the identification of the teachers’ preferences for teaching styles relevant to stimulating the students’ creative, analytical, practical and reproductive abilities. The sample included 362 teachers from Romanian high schools and universities. The results obtained indicate that the scales of the questionnaire have a good internal consistency. We investigated the validity of the scale by analysing associations with thinking styles and the Big Five model traits. Results confirm the validity of the questionnaire. The new questionnaire can be used in the analysis of strengths and weaknesses of teaching activity as well as in teacher training.
Keywords: successful intelligence; teaching for successful intelligence; scale development.

Gender Role Attitude and Personality of Women

Pinni Vasantha Lakshmi
St.Joseph’s College of Engineering, Jeppiaar Nagar, Sholinganallur, Chennai-600119, India
Marketers are keenly interested in understanding how gender role attitude and personality influences purchase behaviour because such knowledge enables them to better understand consumers and to segment and target those consumers who are likely to respond positively to their product or service communications. This study examined the relationship between gender role attitude and personality of women in Chennai city. Segmentation of women was done based on the factors influencing their gender role attitude and personality. Chi-square test signifies an association between segments of gender role attitude and personality of women.
Keywords: gender role attitude; personality; women

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